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Hinduism. Presented by: Ambassador of India to Chile Susmita Gongulee Thomas. “There are as many ways to god as there are men”. This is India.

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There are as many ways to god as there are men


Presented by: Ambassador of India to Chile

Susmita Gongulee Thomas

“There are as many ways to god as there are men”

There are as many ways to god as there are men

This is India

“In religion and culture, India is the only millionaire! There is only one India, the land of dreams and romance. The one land all men desire to see, and having seen once, by even a glimpse, would not give that glimpse for the shows of all the rest of the globe combined. India is the cradle of the human race, the birthplace of human speech, the mother of history, the grandmother of legend, and the great grandmother of tradition. Our most valuable and most instructive materials in the history of man are treasured up in India only.”

-Mark Twain

There are as many ways to god as there are men

Facts About India

  • 5,000 year old ancient civilization

  • 325 languages spoken – 1,652 dialects

  • 18 official languages

  • 29 states, 5 union territories

  • 3.28 million sq. kilometers - Area

  • 7,516 kilometers - Coastline

  • 1.1 Billion population.

  • 5600 dailies, 15000 weeklies and 20000 periodicals in 21 languages with a combined circulation of 142 million.

  • GDP $576 Billion. (GDP rate 8%)

  • Parliamentary form of Government

  • World’s largest democracy.

  • World’s 4th largest economy.

  • World-class recognition in IT, bio-technology and pharmaceuticals.

  • Largest English speaking nation in the world.

  • 3rd largest standing army force, over 1.5Million strong.

  • 2nd largest pool of scientists and engineers in the World.

There are as many ways to god as there are men

Diverse GeoGraphy

Desert (West)

Mountains (North)

Beaches (South)

Volcanic Plateau


Plains (East)


Languages of India














There are as many ways to god as there are men

Religions of India

Hinduism-about 82%

Islam- about 12%

Zoroastrianism-about 0.01%

Sikhism-about 2%

Christianity-about 2.5%

Jainism-about 0.5%

Zionism –about 0.0005%

Buddhism- about 0.7%

There are as many ways to god as there are men


  • Hinduism is generally regarded as the world's oldest organized religion. Hinduism is mainly alive in India.

  • It is the dominant faith of India, practised by over 82% of the population.

  • Since religion is a way of life in India, Hinduism forms an integral part of the entire Indian tradition.

  • Definition: It is not easy to define Hinduism, for it is more than a religion in the Western sense.

  • Uniqueness: Hinduism can never be neatly slotted into any particular belief system.

  • Origin: According to historians, the origin of Hinduism dates back to 5000 or more years.

  • Basic Tenets: Hinduism lacks any unified system of beliefs and ideas.

  • Scriptures: Two types of sacred writings constitute the Hindu scriptures: heard (sruti) and memorized (smriti).

  • Gods & Deities: Hinduism believes that there is only one supreme Absolute called Brahman, but it does not advocate the worship of one particular deity.

There are as many ways to god as there are men


Uniqueness and Spread:-

  • Hinduism differs from Christianity, Islam, and most other religions in that it does not have a single founder, a specific theological system, a single system of morality, or a central religious organization headed by an organization or individual. It consists of "thousands of different religious groups that have evolved in India since 1500 BCE.”

  • Hinduism is today the world's third largest religion, after Christianity and Islam. It claims about 762 million followers - 13% of the world's population. It is the dominant religion in India, Nepal, and among the Tamils in Sri Lanka. There are 766,000 Hindus in 2001 in the US. Statistics Canada estimates that there are about 157,015 Hindus in Canada. It is a growing religion.

There are as many ways to god as there are men

Hinduism is henotheistic

  • Hinduism is a henotheistic religion. It recognizes a single deity, and views other Gods and Goddesses as manifestations or aspects of that supreme God.

  • Henotheistic and polytheistic religions have traditionally been among the world's most religiously tolerant faiths.

There are as many ways to god as there are men

Categorizing Hinduism

Categorizing the religion of Hinduism is somewhat confusing:

  • Hinduism has commonly been viewed in the west as a polytheistic religion - one which worships multiple deities: gods and goddesses. Although a widespread belief, this is not accurate.

  • Some have viewed it as a monotheistic religion, because it recognizes only one supreme God: the panentheistic principle of Brahman, that all reality is a unity. The entire universe is seen as one divine entity who is simultaneously at one with the universe and who transcends it as well. 

  • Some view Hinduism as Trinitarian because Brahman is simultaneously visualized as a triad -- one God with three personalities: Brahma the Creator who is continuing to create new realities.Vishnu, (Krishna) the Preserver, who preserves these new creations. Whenever dharma (eternal order, righteousness, religion, law and duty) is threatened, Vishnu travels from heaven to earth in one of ten incarnations. Shiva, the Destroyer, is at times compassionate, erotic and destructive.

  • Rightly speaking, Hinduism is henotheistic; it recognizes a single deity, and recognizes other gods and goddesses as facets, forms, manifestations, or aspects of that supreme God.

There are as many ways to god as there are men

The hindu Trinity

Lord Maheswar or Shiva- the Destroyer is third of the trinity of Hindu Gods.

Brahma- the Creator is the first god of the trinity. He is the incarnation of the Supreme Brahman.

Vishnu- the Preserver is the second of the trinity.

  • The Supreme Power has three aspects: Creation, Preservation, and Destruction.

  • Hinduism has given each aspect a face and legends for people to understand these powers.

  • Each Aspect has numerous manifestations.

  • But they all represent the same Supreme Power.

There are as many ways to god as there are men

aspects of Vishnu

  • Matsya (fish)

  • Kurma (tortoise)

  • Varaha (boar)

  • Narasimha (man-lion)

  • Vamana (dwarf)

  • Parasurama (the warrior with an axe)

  • Rama: kills Ravana

  • Krishna

  • Buddha: Hindus consider Buddha as an incarnation of Lord Vishnu and accept his teachings, but do not directly worship him.

  • Kalkin (a man on a white horse)- Future

There are as many ways to god as there are men

Names of hinduism

This religion is called:

  • Sanatana Dharma, "eternal religion,"

  • Vaidika Dharma, "religion of the Vedas,"

  • Hinduism -- the most commonly used name.

  • Various origins for the word "Hinduism" have been suggested:  It may be derived from an ancient inscription translated as: "The country lying between the Himalayan mountain and Bindu Sarovara is known as Hindusthan by combination of the first letter 'hi' of 'Himalaya' and the last compound letter 'ndu' of the word `Bindu.'" Bindu Sarovara is called the Cape Comorin sea in modern times.

  • It may be a Persian corruption of the word Sindhu (the river Indus)

  • It was a name invented by the British administration in India during colonial times.

  • The classical theory of the origins of Hinduism traces the religion's roots to the Indus valley civilization circa 4000 to 2200 BCE.

There are as many ways to god as there are men

Hindu texts

Sacred texts:

  • Hindu sacred texts are perhaps the most ancient religious texts still surviving today. Some appear to be millennia older than the Hebrew Scriptures (Old Testament) which conservative Christians date to circa 1500 BCE and liberal scholars date to circa 900 BCE.

  • The primary sacred texts of Hinduism are the Vedas:

  • The Rig Veda,

  • Sama Veda,

  • Yajur Veda

  • Atharva Veda

    Then in addition there are:

  • The Upanishadas

  • The Ramayana.

  • The Mahabharata

  • The Bhagavad Gita

  • The Brahmanas, the Sutras, Puranas, and the Aranyakas.

There are as many ways to god as there are men

Rig Veda - Knowledge of Hymns, 10,859 verses

“There is only one truth, only men describe it in different ways.“

Yajur Veda - Knowledge of Liturgy, 3,988 verses

Sama Veda - Knowledge of Classical Music, 1,549 verses

Ayur Veda - Knowledge of Medicine, over 100,000 verses

Upanishads deal with Vedic philosophy; form the conclusions of each of the Vedas. "They tell us how the soul (Atman) can be united with the ultimate truth (Brahman) through contemplation and mediation, as well as the doctrine of Karma-- the cumulative effects of a persons' actions." They teach:

Contents of texts

Jyotisha – Astrology and Astronomy.

Kalpa – Rituals and Legal matters.

Siksha – Phonetics.

Aitareya – Creation of the Universe, Man and Evolution.

Chandogya – Reincarnation, Soul.

Kaushitaki – Karma.

Kena – Austerity, Work, and Restraint.

Dharnur Veda – Science of Archery and War.

Mundaka – Discipline, Faith and warning of Ignorance.

Sulba Sutra – Knowledge of Mathematics

Yoga Sutra - Knowledge of Meditation

Kama Sutra - Knowledge of Love and Sex

There are as many ways to god as there are men

Hindu Beliefs

Two major divisions within Hinduism:

  • Vaishnavaism: which generally regards Vishnu as the ultimate deity

  • Shivaism: which generally regards Shiva as the ultimate deity.

  • In addition, many rural Hindus worship their own village goddess or an earth goddess.

  • Hindus believe in the repetitious Transmigration of the Soul. This is the transfer of one's soul after death into another body. This produces a continuing cycle of birth, life, death and rebirth through their many lifetimes. It is called samsara.

  • Karma is the accumulated sum of ones good and bad deeds. Karma determines how you will live your next life. Through pure acts, thoughts and devotion, one can be reborn at a higher level.

  • Eventually, one can escape samsara and achieve enlightenment.

  • Bad deeds can cause a person to be reborn as a lower level, or even as an animal. The unequal distribution of wealth, prestige, suffering are thus seen as natural consequences for one's previous acts, both in this life and in previous lives.

There are as many ways to god as there are men

Hindu Lifestyle

  • Hinduism has a well deserved reputation of being highly tolerant of other religions. Hinduism says:

    "Ekam Sataha Vipraha Bahudha Vadanti"

    "The Truth is One, Different Sages Call it by Different Names"

  • Hindus organize their lives around certain activities or "purusharthas."

  • These are called the "four aims of Hinduism," or "the doctrine of the fourfold end of life." Men can find God in two ways:

    A. Those who live in the world or "samsara." as a normal humans form the "pravritti,“. Their three goals are: 

  • 1. Dharma: righteousness in their religious life. This is the most important of the three.

  • 2.Artha: success in their economic life; material prosperity.

  • 3. Kama: pleasure; sensual, sexual, and mental  enjoyment.

    B. Those who renounce the world or "samsara." are "nivritti,". Their main goal is:

  • 4. Moksa: Liberation from "samsara." This is considered the supreme goal of mankind through meditation, yoga, daily devotions, public rituals, and puja, a ceremonial dinner for a God.

There are as many ways to god as there are men

The basics of hinduism

5 PRINCIPLES 1. God Exists: One Absolute OM. One Trinity: Brahma, Vishnu, Maheshwara (Shiva)Several divine forms2. All human beings are divine3. Unity of existence through love4. Religious harmony5. Knowledge of 3 Gs: Ganga (sacred river), Gita (sacred script), Gayatri (sacred mantra)

10 DISCIPLINES1. Satya (Truth)2. Ahimsa (Non-violence)3. Brahmacharya (Celibacy, non-adultery)4. Asteya (No desire to possess or steal)5. Aparighara (Non-corrupt)6. Shaucha (Cleanliness)7. Santosh (Contentment)8. Swadhyaya (Reading of scriptures)9. Tapas (Austerity, perseverance, penance)10. Ishwarpranidhan (Regular prayers)

There are as many ways to god as there are men

Dance- a tribute to Gods





There are as many ways to god as there are men

"Man must have an original cradle land whence the peopling of

the earth was brought about by migration.

As to man’s cradle land, there have been many theories but the

weight of evidence is in favour of Indo-Malaysia.”

"If there is a country on earth which can justly claim the honour of having been the cradle of the Human race or at least the scene of primitive civilization, the successive developments of which carried into all parts of the ancient world and even beyond, the blessings of knowledge which is the second life of man, that country is assuredly India.“

The Encyclopedia Britannica Quote

There are as many ways to god as there are men

secular Tolerance of

"In India today,

we have a lady born a Catholic (Sonia Gandhi)

stepping aside so a Sikh (Manmohan Singh)

could be sworn in by a Muslim president (Abdul Kalam)

to lead a nation that's 82% Hindu.

I defy anyone to cite another country with such diversity and tolerance to its political leadership."